Intel Core with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics Launched: HP, Dell, and Intel NUCby Ian Cutress on January 7, 2018 9:02 PM EST
8th Gen Gets More Complex: Confirmed Kaby Lake
The title of this page is a retrospect as to how Intel has literally thrown away the naming scheme that has driven its core product base for the last few years, confusing everyone (including high profile partners). The previous naming scheme was for the most part unambiguous – each processor ‘generation’ was one specific Core family or Core microarchitecture design. For an enthusiast, the 6th Generation Core family was based around Skylake, or 4th Generation Core family was Haswell. Not anymore.
When it was announced back at Intel's Manufacturing Day that Intel was going to be fluid on product line architecture and naming, it would appear that we (the technology press, the enthusiast community) severely under-estimated how fluid it would be. This is currently how history will see the 8th Generation:
|Intel's Core Architecture Cadence (1/7)|
|Core Generation||Microarchitecture||Process Node||Release Year|
|Unknown||Cascade Lake (Server)||?||?|
So far, Intel has launched three specific Core microarchitecture designs as ‘8th Generation’ products, and a fourth has been announced. At the high-end, we have the desktop class Coffee Lake processors, using Intel’s latest 14++ process and running up to 8 cores. For mobile, Intel has launched the 15W Kaby Lake Refresh processors, pushing quad-core Kaby Lake parts into where dual-core 7th Generation Kaby Lake hardware used to go. Then there is this new product, Kaby Lake-G, which is not explicitly a refresh, as it uses the same 7th Generation H-series cores as before. The fourth piece of the puzzle is Intel’s first crack at 10nm with Cannon Lake, which at CES 2017 was promised to be shipping by the end of the year in 2017, but unfortunately has missed the target.
Extrapolating this terminology, we can look forward (!) to similar naming in future generations. During 2018 we are expecting Intel to fill out the Coffee Lake processor line, perhaps even bringing it into the market where current 8th Generation parts already exist or perhaps even where 7th Generation parts are. Unfortunately, looking at the processor name and number will no-longer be an indication of the microarchitecture underneath.
Intel’s response to this, to be clear, is that they state that the 8th Generation product portfolio represents the best of what Intel has to offer in each of the respective product segments. Intel’s best will have the highest number, essentially. While this is probably not a bad position to take, it can leave customers in a situation where if the customer has a good last-generation product, but wants to ‘downgrade’ to a mid-range latest-generation product, the user could end up paying for getting the same hardware in return.